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On this day 41 years ago (July 10, 1978), ABC-TV premiered “World News Tonight” with anchors Frank Reynolds, Peter Jennings and Max Robinson, “Shadow Dancing” by Andy Gibb topped the billboard charts, and in Southwest Ohio, something happened that would change the world forever. Well, at least the roller coaster world.
Officials at Kings Island announced the park had begun construction on a major new attraction that would open as America’s champion roller coaster in the spring of 1979. The new coaster would break all existing records as the longest and fastest with the two greatest vertical drops. Not only were the statistics of the coaster awesome with a top speed of 65 miles per hour, a total track length of 7,359 feet and vertical drops of 135 feet and 141 feet, but the use of the rugged natural terrain ensured that no other roller coaster anywhere would top the thrills the ride would deliver as it weaved along steep cliffs, down ravines, into four tunnels, through nine sharply banked turns, among a forest of trees and often at three-top heights.
Another feature that made the coaster different than any other was the fact the park had designed it and would construct it themselves.
Two-hundred and 11 days following the announcement, on February 6, 1979, Kings Island unveiled the name of America’s champion roller coaster. The biggest, baddest, tallest, fastest wooden roller coaster in the world would be known as The Beast.
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